Now and then we like to go to garage sales (okay, during nice weather we do this a lot), but these days, due to my desire to have less stuff we're very selective about making purchases and a lot of the time the trip is more about walking and getting exercise as well as a kind of quirky fascination regarding what types of things end up in other people's houses and what types of things they've chosen to get rid of (during my own garage sales, I'm sure more than a few people wondered why I would have a little object designed to make square hard-boiled eggs. I'm still wondering that myself, but someone bought it so I don't have to worry about storing it anymore).
I could go on and on about the psychology behind why people go to garage sales and estate sales and why people have them (and what kinds of things you find there) and maybe someday I will, but this post has a different purpose.
Last year, we visited a garage sale in a somewhat affluent neighborhood, and they were selling this interesting and clever little chair. I'm kicking myself now that I didn't have a camera with me, but I remember it vividly, so I'm hoping I can recreate it so that you'll get the picture. A parent obviously decided that it would be a good idea to have a special chair set aside for those time out periods when a child misbehaves. To that purpose, they had started with an old red vinyl chair similar to this one.
Then they had taken either lilac poster board or card stock and written on it (using pretty markers), a clever running commentary, such as (I'm doing this from memory, so I'm paraphrasing and inventing here):
I'm sorry. I'll try to do better. This is boring. It wasn't my fault. How much longer do I have to be here? I want to go out and play. Tick, tick, tick...how long is ten minutes? I really, really will be more careful next time. Time outs are no fun.
That part was fastened to the seat and overlaid with clear contact paper. The back of the chair had the words "Time out Chair" on it, also in colored poster board with an overlay of clear contact paper. I thought it was an intriguing solution (having a dedicated piece of furniture) to the time out situation, but later I was surprised to find that it wasn't completely original. People actually make and sell time out chairs. Here are some of the more interesting ones:
And this one from this Etsy shop:
And this handmade one that was made for an arts festival (discussed in this blog):
And there are others, many commercially made and some obviously thrown together quickly (a paper sign that says "Time Out" taped to the back of a chair). I thought this was an interesting solution to an everyday situation (when my boys were growing up, I simply said, "Looks like it's time to go to your room for ten minutes" (or more minutes if it was a more serious infraction). But I like the concept of having a special piece of furniture.
Of course, eventually a chair like that is bound to end up at a garage sale (or donated to a charity shop). Not exactly the kind of furniture anyone remembers fondly (especially the kids, I would think). So, what about you? Do you garage sale or not? If so, what are some of the more interesting things you've seen being sold? And what do you think of the time out chairs shown here?
Of course, here's my favorite. It's a time out chair being given a time out. :-)